Foreign Affairs Committee urges Europe-wide action on African crisis

July 27th, 2011 - Pat Breen

The Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade has agreed to write to the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs urging him to impress upon his European colleagues of the urgent need to take collective action to help address the emergency humanitarian situation in the horn of Africa.

Following a meeting with the CEOs of three of Ireland’s leading overseas aid agencies,
Tom Arnold of Concern, Justin Kilcullen of Trócaire and Jim Clarken of Oxfam, the Committee acknowledged the contribution of the Irish Government and all NGOs to meet the needs of the people of the region but expressed concern at the slow reaction of the international community.

Committee Chairman, Pat Breen TD said: “Clearly, there is an onus on the international community to do more to address the severe food crisis where between 10 and 12 million people in drought stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are affected.

Ireland’s response has been acknowledged as one of the more committed, Ireland has pledged €7 million euros to meet the needs of the people of this region and has despatched 11 members of the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps.

However, the Committee has agreed to write to the Tanaiste to ask him to communicate with his opposite numbers in the EU to formulate a Europe-wide response to the growing crisis and the explore the possibility of appointing an EU envoy to the region to help with the distribution of aid. We will also ask the Tanaiste to consider the use of Irish Aid’s conflict resolution unit to help negotiate a settlement between warring factions in Somalia which would help to ease the difficulties in distributing aid.”